Lent: February 24th
Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Old Calendar: St. Matthias, apostle
But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10:5-9).
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Matthias, apostle. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on May 14.
From the Beginning of Creation Marriage Was Sacred
The link between secularization and the crisis of marriage and of the family is only too clear. The crisis concerning the meaning of God and that concerning moral good and evil has succeeded in diminishing an acquaintance with the fundamentals of marriage and of the family which is rooted in marriage. For an effective recovery of the truth in this field, it is necessary to rediscover the transcendent dimension that is intrinsic to the full truth of marriage and the family, overcoming every dichotomy that tends to separate the profane aspects from the religious as if there were two marriages: one profane and another sacred.
“God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gn 1,27). The image of God is found in the duality of man and woman and in their interpersonal communion. For this reason, transcendence is inherent in the existence of marriage, right from the start, because it belongs to the natural distinction between man and woman in the order of creation. In their being “one flesh” (Gn 2,24), the man and the woman, in their mutual assistance and fruitfulness, participate in something sacred and religious, as the Encyclical Arcanum divinae sapientiae of my Predecessor Leo XIII emphasized, pointing to the understanding of marriage held in ancient civilizations (10 Feb. 1880, Leonis XIII P.M. Acta, vol. II, p. 22). In this regard, he observed that marriage “from the very beginning was a figure (adumbratio) of the Incarnation of the Word of God” (ibid.). In the state of original innocence, Adam and Eve already had the supernatural gift of grace. In this way, before the Incarnation of the Word took place historically, its effective holiness was already being bestowed on humanity.
Excerpted from Natural Marriage Already Has Sacred Dimension, John Paul II, February 5, 2003
The Station is in the basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, where the people would assemble towards evening, that they might be present at the ordination of the priests and sacred ministers. This day was called Twelve-Lesson-Saturday, because, formerly, twelve passages from the holy Scriptures were read, as upon Holy Saturday. Built by Constantine in 323, the basilica was erected over the place where St. Peter was buried.
Meditation: Matthew 5:43-48
1st Week of Lent
If you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? (Matthew 5:47)
When was the last time someone looked at you and noticed you were different? When was the last time an onlooker called you unusual? That might not be the kind of attention you want. And yet it seems that’s what Jesus asks us to strive for. What does he mean?
Today’s Gospel comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. It’s the last of what scholars call the antitheses—where Jesus says, “You have heard . . . but I say.” In each antithesis, Jesus is explaining what life in the Spirit looks like—and it looks unusual!
But if you want to talk about unusual, take a look at the way God loves. We naturally love people who love us. Mosaic Law encouraged the Israelites to go a bit further and love their brethren as themselves. But God goes even further; his love extends to those who don’t love him at all—even to his enemies. Isn’t this what the cross of Christ is all about?
Jesus urges us to try to love unconditionally as well. As we do, people will look at us and say, “How can they do that?” And that’s a good thing; we should leave people scratching their heads.
But how do we get to the point where we can love even our enemies? By soaking up God’s love. The more immersed we are in his tenderness and mercy, the more barriers in relationships will start to break down. Our hearts will begin to soften. We will want to treat people the same way God treats us. And that will make us stretch outside of our everyday boundaries and reach out to even more people.
Of course we’ll look unusual because we will be doing the unusual! We will be showing the world what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ. As Jesus himself promised, people will know we belong to him because of the way we love (John 13:35).
Try something different after Mass tomorrow. Talk to someone you don’t know. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but that’s okay. When you take that first step, God will surprise you. You just might recognize God’s presence in that person. You’ll even be starting to love as God loves!
“Lord, help me to be ‘unusual’ today.”
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.